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Farmers help design online tools to take pain from paperwork

20th September 2012

Farmers help design new online tools to take pain from paperwork

Ravensdown has worked with farmers to develop new online tools to help take the pain out of farm paperwork.

Farmers helped design the new features of the MyRavensdown secure website, so that documents like statements and invoices are shown the way farmers need them. The 100% farmer-owned co-operative is also the first to launch “live help” for farmers which allows users to get instant help from one of the trained NZ-based Customer Centre team.

“Farming has always been data-rich, but farmers are time-poor, so a great secure online service has to be simple to use,” said Mark McAtamney, Chief Information Officer at Ravensdown. “There’s a real danger of too much information, so the visitor can tailor how much detail they want to drill down and see. Farmers helped us design the straightforward layout and they appreciate the live help feature, so they can ask questions about the page they are on and get an answer about their account there and then.”

Noel and Ann Gray milk 600 cows on a 200ha milking platform (with 200ha support) in Kumenga Road, Featherston. One of the things Noel picked up on was different wording to what he was used to, such as to ‘export’ a file, when to him, ‘exporting’ meant things like sending butter to England. “I’ve seen it written elsewhere since, but it didn’t mean anything to me at the time. The language has to be user-friendly on these sites,” said Noel.

“Changes like this were easy for us to make,” added Mark. “The online tools on don’t replace the face-to-face and phone communications from our account managers, Customer Centre and stores network. Our direct-to-farmer model helps keep costs down across a range of inputs like fertiliser, nutrients and minerals. But this also means our direct communications channels and online ordering have to work much harder.”

“In the current economic climate, keeping tabs on what is probably one of your largest investments has to be simple. But MyRavensdown isn’t just for finances. Farmers told us that having all your documents all in one place like nutrient plans, soil test analysis, application history, proof of placement maps and pasture management data is going to add real value.”

Cropping farm manager Chris Smith, who has worked for the McMillans at Leeston for five years, says it was great to be involved in the design of the website. “I’m using as much of it as I can now, such as the accounts. They’re much easier to read. It’s good to go to the website and grab your information – historic information as well,” said Chris.

MyRavensdown secure online tools are also available to non-shareholders.

A short explanation video is also available on Ravensdown’s You Tube channel.

About Ravensdown:

100% farmer-owned Ravensdown is Australasia’s largest fertiliser co-operative, providing farmers with the tools, advice and inputs to lift their production and lower their environmental footprint.


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